31 January 2016
GREYHOUND RESCUE Association of Ireland welcomes the recommendations for welfare enhancement in the Final Report from the Joint Committee, released January 2016. The Report follows their meeting held on 20 November 2015 with the Minister of State for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine – who has responsibility for the greyhound industry – Tom Hayes, Bord na gCon, and greyhound owners/breeders.
GRAI was invited to submit evidence of concerns that should be raised and considered prior to the meeting held – we are pleased to see such concerns heard and put forward as recommendations to influence the much-anticipated Greyhound Industry(Amendment)Bill.
Enhancing Greyhound Welfare – Recommendation 10
Given advancements in technology and monitoring systems, regularly updated, accurate records on all registered greyhounds in Ireland should be maintained in order for the industry and its stakeholders (as well as welfare authorities and officers) to identify and track the numbers of injured, traded (sold/exported), retired and deceased greyhounds in an open and transparent way. This may take the form of a single register whereby each greyhound whelped is microchipped and recorded on one central database by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in collaboration with BnG and the Irish Coursing Club.
That an improved traceability regime be established, to ensure that the actions of certain owners can be more effectively patrolled and that dogs can be traced throughout their lifespan;
That the powers of the Welfare Committee of BnG be enhanced and extended and, if necessary, placed on a statutory footing to ensure full independence;
More accountability should be sought from owners, including an onus to account (and report) regularly on the status of greyhounds in their possession;
That data on greyhound welfare available to BnG, such as that on rehoming figures from the Retired Greyhound Trust, should be provided to recognised welfare and voluntary rescue groups or published publicly in a timely way;
That the issue of abandonment of greyhounds be treated in legislation (if necessary) and for the rehoming / rescue of greyhounds should be actively encouraged in order to increase the percentage of greyhounds rescued annually (from local authority pounds and elsewhere) from 38% in 2014 and to reduce the numbers of racing dogs euthanised annually (57% of those admitted to local authority pounds in 2014). This may take the form of an additional funding provision from BnG to the Retired Greyhound Trust to aid its work in finding homes for retired dogs;
That the sanctioning regime be clarified and strengthened and that authorised officers (i.e. the Area Stipendiary Stewards) take an increasingly proactive approach in order to deter abuse and prevent cruelty to greyhounds and to encourage accurate and timely reporting;
That more stringent penalties to tackle certain offences such as owners who fail to transfer ownership when they give away or sell a registered greyhound;
That a person found guilty of serious and on-going cruelty within the industry should receive a lifetime ban.
Drugs in Greyhound Racing
Recommendation 13 calls for a zero-tolerance policy on prohibited substances in greyhound racing.
GRAI give thanks to the Deputies and Senators of the Committee for raising and addressing welfare areas of concern. We share their anticipation that the Recommendations be considered for implementation.
The Joint Committee Final Report can be downloaded via: http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/media/committees/agriculturefoodandthemarine/Greyhound-Report—Final.pdf
For further information please contact
Press Officer for Greyhound Rescue Association Ireland Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 00 44 7990027294